Jennifer Garner Talks Fame, Food, And Fearlessness On Next Question

Vanity Fair's Founders Fair

On this episode of Next Question, Katie Couric sits down with actress Jennifer Garner, four-time Emmy nominee and ambassador for Save the Children, to learn about her new food venture, Once Upon a Farm, her Pretend Cooking Show on Instagram, being a middle child, and more. Turns out, both women have a lot in common, starting with navigating parenting and social media. Jennifer never posts her children on any of her social media platforms, saying, “It kills me, because of course I want to share them. I'm so proud of them, and I think they're really funny and cute,” but the paparazzi were so aggressively after them that they would block the entrances of urgent care centers and run red lights to keep up with her car. It got so bad that in 2013, Jennifer and several other celebrities lobbied California legislature for a paparazzi law. “We really were hunted for so long...it was so out of control. And it really marked my children's experience out in the world, and it shaped who they became, in certain ways.” Katie’s own daughter has very little interest in social media; “she has sort of a phobia about it,” Katie says. But at the same time, it does make you “feel more connected,” Jennifer admits. “I joined Instagram because of Once Upon a Farm. It was very much part of the deal. And I did it kicking and screaming, but that's how much I wanted to be involved with this company.”

 

Katie tells us that as an ambassador for Save the Children, Jennifer has been an advocate for some of the most underserved communities in the country; “in the 11 years I've worked for them,” Jennifer says, “I've crisscrossed the country visiting the poorest areas” and saw a huge need for nutritious and fresh food for young children. She also noticed that “we're...looking for businesses to lead in a way that we didn't use to.” So, “two years ago,” Katie explains, Jennifer “decided to approach the issue of childhood hunger from a different angle, joining the board of a small mission-driven startup aimed at making high quality, organic baby food, affordable for all families.” That start-up, Once Upon a Farm, is run by CEO John Foraker. He was first the CEO for Annie’s, one of the first companies to offer organic foods targeted to children. Now, though, he’s concentrating on nutrition for babies and the very young, and most importantly, of any class level, working to get his food approved as part of the Women, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) Health government assistance program, which helps poor families subsidize the cost of fresh and organic foods. It hasn’t been easy, John says: they’ve had to rethink supply chains, packaging, sourcing, and more for it to make financial sense. But the struggle is worth it to drive serious change, “not just for rich kids in Beverly Hills, or San Francisco, or New York,” John tells Katie, “but for all kids.” 

Fast Company Innovation Festival - Day 3

Jennifer had to learn some new things too, laughing with Katie about how she didn’t know what ROI stood for or what the difference was between "gross" and "net," but, “I think that we can't be afraid to be beginners, at any stage in your life,” she says. “And I try to always have something that I'm a beginner on. Like I started tennis lessons for the first time in my life last week, or I learned to ski when I was 40, and so you've got to fight for being a beginner, and not let yourself be embarrassed. And I just am wholeheartedly a novice, and thrilled about it.” Katie says she may just have to get that life lesson stitched onto a pillow. 

Join Katie, Jennifer, and John to learn more about Once Upon a Farm, Jennifer’s childhood being raised “almost Amish,” who Jennifer and Katie’s mutual celebrity crush is, and more on this episode of Next Question

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Photos: Getty Images

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